On Thursday 13th October I attended the Be A Force For Change – National Advocacy Conference 2016 run by Kate Mercer Training. I delivered the first keynote speech on my experiences with advocacy, titled “Be Your Client’s Hero”. It was a brilliant event, very successful and we had a lovely day there. The speeches and workshops were very interesting and it was lovely to meet so many inspiring people there today.
Being the first keynote speaker was exciting, and I feel it is the best speech I have given. I really enjoyed it – usually I’m so nervous and anxious to get it right, that I forget to enjoy doing it – and those with me, said it showed on my face and in the way I spoke. I had a fantastic time, I delivered my speech clearly, I got across the points that I wanted to, and I managed to round it up at the end and clearly deliver my message that I wanted people to take away from my speech. Sadly the slides for my presentation wouldn’t work, but it didn’t detract from my speech at all. I also answered a few questions afterwards. My speech flowed nicely into Steve Broach’s presentation on Human Rights which followed, with a lot of issues faced by myself and which were touched on in my story exemplifying the different acts and laws and how they can be used to meet the needs of the disabled person. It was a fascinating talk and I left with a much greater understanding of the laws, from the Human Rights Act, to the European Convention on Human Rights, to the UN Convention on the Rights of Person’s with Disabilities and the Equality Act. I also better under stood key articles within these laws and how they are used to benefit the disabled person.
Here is the video of my speech:
Following my speech, I attended a workshop run by NYAS (the National Youth Advocacy Service) where we talked about social media and then the work of NYAS, advocacy and watched two of their new films. It was very interesting.
I met so many lovely people at the conference, learnt a lot from the talks, Q&As, workshops and from other people, and I received lots of fantastic feedback about my speech (and also some tweets about it).
We just had a great day, I do feel it was my best speech and I had a great time. I am so grateful to Kate Mercer for inviting me and asking me to speak, I am so grateful to everyone who has given me an opportunity over the last three and a half years. I was filming all day Tuesday for an NCPC video too, so it’s been a busy week!